Wednesday, 13 April 2011

New Forest Grockle Hunting

Sorry I haven't posted for some time but I've been a little busy building Lyn's new craft room, check out her blog for details. That's left her old craft room free so I thought I'd use it as my little den, well somewhere to write really (I've been working off the coffee table). Just writing these blogs has re-ignited my passion, I scribbled many years ago for a local paper and the county mag of the time and I did a few pieces for the classic motorcycles magazine (yes, I was a long hairy biker at one stage!) and I just stopped, don't really know why but I do vividly remember writing about a character that I just couldn't get right and I became really involved with him, I guess I took the easy route and walked away but now with the passing of time I feel more confident about starting again (at the time of course, I also had a couple of lovely children demanding attention and they were always going to win), so I'm going to have another go before I really do turn into my Nemesis, Victor Meldrew....... Have a look at my den building efforts so far, I've made the desk and shelves from an old wardrobe that eldest daughter left behind ( waste not, want not in these hard economic times) and I'm quite happy with the result. The desk top is actually the two doors, shortened. The front is the back of the wardrobe turned round, the end support is one of the sides, the L shelf adjoining the desk top is the floor of the wardrobe and on the left wall (you may not see it all) are two wall shelves, the smaller one is the remains of the doors and the higher one is the whole of one side cut down to shelf size. Enough of my excuses, on with the business of the day.
With the Easter holidays looming on the horizon, it would seem to be an ideal opportunity to educate everyone on the ancient art of 'Grockling'. This ritual certainly dates back to the Victorian times or even earlier. An ancient song titled 'A Grockling we will go...', gives some indication about the duration of the annual migratory habit. Those who are unfamiliar with this ancient practice may need some guidance on 'Grockling'. Well look no further, here it is!
In the west country they are lovingly referred to as 'Emmets', an Emmet being the Cornish word for a large ant. They received this title because of their amazing technique for marching into holiday resorts in armies and completely infesting all of the local shops and streets. Further east, theses same creatures have a different name, here they are called 'Piles'. Why 'Piles'? Good question and from what I have gathered through a local yokel of the vicinity, a rough translation would be; 'because they come out in bunches and they're a pain in the ........nether regions!
Here in the New Forest and surrounding areas we call them 'Grockles', - or 'Grocks' for short. Nobody is quite sure how this term entered our local dialect although I have discovered that it first originated on the Isle of Wight. In recent years the term 'Grockle' has been understood, by a great many people, to refer to particular section or group of people. They are, of course, our much welcomed holiday maker or visitor and as Easter approaches I've already spotted a few (saw a tall lad with tats and no shirt on wandering in our mecca, Lyndhurst, about a week ago).
'Grockle' hunting can be quite a rewarding hobby. Some of their habits can be irritating but easily spotted. When in the Forest they like to drive at 20 - 25 mph (the New Forest pretty much has a max speed of 40mph everywhere these days, except in built up areas where it's usually 30mph) , each of the cars occupants likes to maintain a glassy stare out of the windows and the driver tends to swerve erratically to maintain his illusion of reality. When the first pony is spotted (the ponies wander all over the forest including the roads and always have right of way over vehicles) the driver will automatically hit the brakes, regardless of the traffic backed up behind him/her and all of the occupants will jump out of the car, cameras in hand, to worry the life out of the poor thing (parents seem to like their kids to touch and feed them which is against forest bylaws because it teaches the ponies that unknown people will feed them and when they don't get fed they will kick. Many visitors are injured each season by ponies)
Real 'Grockles', as opposed to weekenders, have many distinctive features which will help the initiate 'Grockler' to identify them. True 'Grocks' have their own uniform; flip-flops or sandals, shorts that they wouldn't dream of wearing if they were at home and a short sleeved shirt with some obnoxious comment emblazoned across it.To complete the uniform they like to wear sunglasses (even when it's raining) and a peculiar naff hat. The finishing touch is done with hands, they are happily occupied carrying either ice cream or fish and chips and frequently both!
The female attire is often more practical, perhaps new high heeled shoes (ideal for forest walks), new striped dress, new white cardigan and, of course, an enormous new handbag. The handbag is essential for carrying the 'Grockling' kit; sun tan lotion, after sun lotion and artificial sun tan lotion (in case the first two don't work)!
The like and dislikes of the 'Grockle' are worth pondering. They do seem to like queueing, it doesn't matter what for? It's the actual queueing that excites them most. As a word of warning, never stop and talk to a friend in the high street because you may find 'Grocks' queueing behind you! They also like to talk aloud, especially about their dislikes. They dislike our 'heavy air' (whatever that is?), they dislike our property prices but worst of all they dislike our ale. This is indeed sacriledge in my view!
On the other hand I have to admit that I do have a small amout of admiration for 'Grockling' . I believe that it is now a traditional British way of life. I, for one, am always pleased to meet 'grockles' because we have so much in common. What do we have in common? Well for two or three weeks of the year, I am also a 'Grockle, Emmet or Pile'! How about you ? Now........where are my Bermuda shorts and loud Hawaiian shirt?


  1. Well, that was a good read and good fun! It has taught me a lesson or two about being a tourist to certain beauty spots!!
    I only came here to commend you on all the amazing work you did on Lyn's new craft room and didn't anticipate an ulterior motive but must admit that you do deserve it!!
    Best wishes
    Grockle from WOYWW via Liverpool

  2. Your Bermuda shorts and loud Hawaiian shirts are in the wardrobe dearest!
    and of course a real grockle always wears socks with his sandals.... ohoo I like your yes/no thing on the side, I want one!

    ps. yes you do have word variation , that's why yesterdays comment isn't here, I forgot to wait, and press the button.

  3. Brilliant .... had a smile on my usually stressed face for the whole Grockle report....worrying thing is that I recognise

    What a great job you did on the craft room .... fancy popping up here to sort mine ???? ....was that a 'you have got to be joking' I just heard ?

  4. Good use of the wardrobe but what happens if oldest daughter wants to move back and would she be a Grockle if she did. p.s. Hubby knows that those ponies kick. He has wounds to prove it.
    Mrs A.

  5. HAPPY BIRTHDAY .... waiting for another post ...have a great birthday.